Making Mistakes & Learning From Them

The brief experience that I've had freelancing for Dayton City Paper has given me the opportunity to shoot single images again, and to shoot them under pressure, which has been my first real experience of doing that. Whenever you're under pressure, you're bound to make some mistakes.

Today I shot photos of two different comic stores in Yellow Springs, Ohio, as part of a story that DCP is doing on comic culture in Dayton. Upon entering each of the stores, I immediately felt unsure of how to tackle the assignment. Thoughts like, "How do you make stacks of books look interesting?" and "How do you deal with these yucky backgrounds?" ran through my mind. I panicked. I just shot stuff.

I came home from the assignments and uploaded the images on my computer. After picking out a few selects, I realized how many ways I could have shot the assignment better. Isn't that always how it works? *laughs* When looking at my photos, I realized that I shot all of the people from the side. Why didn't I move in front of them, so that you could really look into their eyes as they perused the comics? Why didn't I bring a telephoto lens with me, so that I could really blur the background and compress the subject? Why didn't I look for patterns amidst the stacks of comics?

Looking back, I now know of several shots I could've gotten if I would've really thought this through. But this experience has helped me learn a couple things:

  1. Even when you mess up, you can go back and look at what you've done to get better ideas for how to shoot it the next time.
  2. There's always a creative way to shoot something. You just have to slow down and think it through.